June 21, 2016 Connor family's $1 million gift supports social impact initiatives

Connor gift - Honduras

A $1 million commitment from alumni Chris and Sara Connor is connecting socially conscious students at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business with opportunities for critical, action-based learning experiences around the world.

The Connor Family Endowed Scholars Fund was matched dollar-for-dollar by the university’s Joseph A. Alutto Global Leadership Initiative—providing $2 million in total scholarship support. The fund will emphasize social impact.

Chris Connor headshot cropped
Chris Connor

“Fisher College of Business is extremely grateful to count Chris, Sara and their children as among our college’s most valuable supporters,” said Anil K. Makhija, dean and John W. Berry, Sr. Chair in Business at Fisher.

“Chris and Sara’s passion for social causes in Ohio, around the country and throughout the world is a source of inspiration for the Fisher community. Their generous gift, coupled with the support of the Joseph A. Alutto Global Leadership Initiative, will connect our students to critical social challenges in untapped and underexplored markets across the globe while demonstrating the transformative power of business.”

The first class of Connor Family Scholars participated in the Honduras Sustainable Housing Project, a multi-year, interdisciplinary program at Ohio State that seeks to improve the design of sustainable housing for the rural poor in Central America. Traveling abroad in May, students worked with a local family to secure financing for the home, established a seed fund for the construction of future homes, and created a business plan that will equip a local business to respond to the need for homes in the area.

"From creating the financing plan to actually building the home, the Honduras experience put so many of our skills to use in ways that were truly unique," said Kelsey Rumburg, a member of the Class of 2016 who was a part of the project. "Most of our team had very little experience with construction or even manual labor, so mixing batch after batch of mortar and laying block taught us a great deal about appreciating the work that goes into everything around us.

"This experience was truly about serving the family and community we worked with. The days were hot, long and tiring, but seeing the end product and how grateful the family was made it completely worth it! This project brought out the best in all of us, and by the end of it, our team was like a family. We are grateful to everyone who helped make this life-changing experience happen."

The Honduras Sustainable Housing Project is just one example of the impact the Connor family's gift is having around the world.

“Sara and I are committed to bringing about positive social change in areas of the world that most need it,” Chris Connor said. “We are excited to partner with the talented students at Fisher College of Business who recognize this need and who are dedicated to making a difference. We look forward to seeing the positive impacts these scholars will have in communities around the world for years to come."

Chris Connor is Executive Chairman of the Board at The Sherwin-Williams Company, a $11.5 billion global leader in the paint and coatings industry headquartered in Cleveland. He is a 1978 graduate of The Ohio State University and a member of Fisher’s Dean’s Advisory Council. He and his wife Sara, a 1980 graduate, have three adult children—all graduates of Ohio State.